Today for the first time, I've decided to share a story only a few persons know about, let's just say I've finally made peace with it and am ready to move on and grab what's in front of me because if we keep holding on to the past, we would get stuck in it and never have an opportunity to embrace the future and the wonderful blessings it is pregnant with. Today I am sharing this very trying time of my life and can only hope you learn a thing or two.
In 2015, I wanted a better life for myself. I was tired of struggling and needed to make a move and all radar was pointing towards South Africa. I had a couple of friends who were into internet scams at the time and my mind was made up to explore that world and get rich or at the very least die trying.
It was a very frustrating moment in my life, I had been perambulating like the Israelites for too long and finally had to arrive at my promised land, so I thought until I found myself locked behind bars, facing possible deportation in a place called Lindela in South Africa. It is a refugee camp where people from different nationalities are dumped and treated like animals and I wouldn't wish my enemy a minute there.
It all started on the 19th of April, 2015 when I got into that flight to Johannesburg to seek a better life, I needed to, I was tired of my mom paying my bills and girls choosing a guy over me because I wasn't where I needed to be financially and so, I was determined, foolish and dumb I must add, I forgot there's a God of man who makes our way right only if we choose to live according to His will and allow Him to help us actualize our dreams.
I took my eyes off my 'Maker' and pursued a life that only would lead to regrets and destruction eventually, but at the time, nothing mattered, all that meant sense to me was leaving Nigeria because I bought a lie that was sold to me and believe me has also been sold to a million more reading this right now, that if you ever want to make it in life, you have to travel to the abroad. Right?
Well, the abroad, I was, the weather was beautiful, I got in just about summer and never felt such a romancing atmosphere, I would wrap myself up in that duvet and sleep like a baby. Everything seemed right, God has finally answered my prayers I thought, but now I've come to understand it is not everything that seems like a blessing that is from God. Many times the devil tries to mislead us by opening doors that could only lead to frustration in the end. Don't use it!
It all started Rosy, had a couple of glasses of wine on the plane and got to meet a couple of beautiful and amazing women as we flew those heights. We had pretty amazing conversations and got to exchange numbers. The life was beautiful, my friend was doing pretty good and so he gave me the best life out there, but little did I know the devil was only preparing his tactics for the attack and ignorantly, I fell for it. How sad!
You know, amid all that enjoyment, I had a burning urge to fix my papers and wouldn't have to hide from the cops all the time as many immigrants do and so I packed up a nap-sack and headed to the Home Affairs office in Pretoria to seek for an extension.
I had to pay R2000 to be shortlisted for an appointment for Thursday that week, but unfortunately, couldn't get it done as scheduled, unfortunately, so I was rescheduled for the week after and so I thought to myself, instead of having to go back to Johannesburg and having to come back, why not just stay over at my friend's, after all, I had a childhood friend who I hadn't seen since he left Nigeria in 2005 and what an opportunity it was to catch up on old times, so I went over to his place and that's when the creepy faceless one took his chance on me.
It was on a Saturday evening, I remember vividly. I was watching a football match being played by Manchester United and Liverpool FC when my friend brought up the idea to hit the club which I adroitly debunked but gave in eventually after so much pressure.
It was my first experience in a South African club, I got carried away and got soaked up in some alcohol and I even remember lighting up a couple of cigarette sticks after staying away from both for many years since I got saved by the cross.
The night just wasn't glorifying my Creator in any way. The more I drifted away from doing the right thing, the easier it was for the devil to have his way. However, that didn't change God's admirable nature of being faithful even in our unfaithfulness, because the club got busted by the police and immigration just a few minutes after we stepped out. He saved me!
Truly, I wanted to go home, but my friend wouldn't just live life to a minimum. He wanted it all at once and so we went to the next club which was also busted the exact hour we got there and faithfully again, God saved me.
Nonetheless, deep down I knew I had failed God and just wanted to go back home and get on my knees, but my friend didn't have a problem playing the devil's advocate that night and made it pretty hard to get off his claws. He failed me yet again!
Meanwhile, thank God for His mercies, we got back into the car when the coast was clear, but only to my greatest surprise, we were yet in another club, and this time, they had organized a girl to go home with me which unfortunately struck a good cord in me and I had forgotten God for a while.
At this time, I just wanted to see the night through and maybe settle things with Him (God) tomorrow, but little did I know the devil was ruthless with his plans for me that unfortunate evening. By the way, did I remember to tell you that we had encountered and escaped yet another roadblock on our way and that was the third time God saved me that night? How amazing!
Anyway, I guess my luck had run out for the night and had it bad this time. The club got busted just about ten minutes into our arrival, we were arrested and thrown in a Black Maria where my prison experience started. We were treated like slaves and asked to sit on the floor dead in the middle of the night in that terrible winter cold in Pretoria while the forensics took our biometrics.
It was a heartbreaking experience before the devastating one awaiting me in Lindela. If only I knew, I would have enjoyed every bit of it as I said my sinner's prayer continuously out of guilt, but then, the motive was bad and makes it unacceptable, I believe. Well, that's for another day.
Lindela, here I come.
It was in there I started my journey proper and was there for the next 2 months with my freedom completely taken from me.
Meanwhile, may I remind you that the worst-case scenario for a week overstay is a R200 fine, but the government had no issue, violating my rights due to the xenophobic attacks happening in the country at the time.
I was locked up with criminals who had just finished their sentence in the maximum prisons around the country and you can begin to imagine what my experiences were.
I even employed the services of an immigration lawyer who was paid R6000 to plead my case, but all to no avail, that's when I knew God's hands were in this.
He has permitted the devil for a purpose and had to repent my ways or continue to see myself as the Israelites enslaved in Egypt 'outside God's plans for them, rather than to see myself as Joseph enslaved in Egypt but 'inside' God's plan, as it leads to the palace. It was until then I felt a peace like never before come upon me and that was when the revelation started.
God sent a young pastor to me in Lindela and we went through the scriptures together day after day, night after night and He (God) started using me to lead the early morning worship and night vigil sessions. In there, He made some promises to me and today I'm living that promise; King Solomon's Mine.
All glory to God!
Initially, when we got there, it was hell feeding as we had to line up in batches to visit the dining hall under the ragging summer cold, but the moment I reconnected myself back to God and accepted my prison experience, He provided all I needed and I stopped going to the dining and visited the supermarket instead. I was left to watch TV and enjoy my snack and sometimes proper food while the security guards came chasing everyone out to eat in the dining.
Even in my prison, I fed like a king, so who are we to question God's provisions? He is too faithful to fail, but ever ready to chastise us when we miss our footing as His child. Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24)
Many, unfortunately like me, left their God-given land to be slaves in a foreign land due to a lie sold to them by the devil. You can make it anywhere. What is important is making our ways right with God and He'll water our seeds. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (Romans 9:16)
Many of us are in the wrong place at the right time or in the right place at the wrong time. In whatever of these two situations you find yourself in, you need to cry out to God to reposition you. Don't be afraid of the prison experiences and the truth is that you don't have to be locked up in a cell-like I was to have your prison experience, the circumstances of life you find yourself today might be that prison experience that leads you to your palace and until you find peace with it and allow God, work you through it, you would only continue to perambulate through life as the Israelites did for 40 years.
I want you to see me today as your Moses, whom God has sent to lead you to your promised land. Learn from my story and make the best out of it.
I conclude, God always has our best interest at heart. Initially, when I was arrested and going through all that patches, I was angry with God when I should have been thankful for saving me from the fatal plan of the devil. My life was programmed to end in South Africa if I had gone on to get myself involved in the Internet scam. I would have been messed up in the act and had to pay with my life one way or the other, but God took me and hid me in that cell.
Oftentimes, God saves us from ourselves and calamities heading to befall us, but we would rather complain and wonder why He's so unfair to us. Seek wisdom, go closer to Him more than you've ever been and let Him prepare a table for you amid your enemies like He did for me.
Many thanks for reading.